Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs? - www.ifish.net
The Oregonian's Bill Monroe!

Go Back   www.ifish.net > Ifish Archives > Ifish 2003 archives

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-20-2003, 06:46 PM   #1
Up-4-Air
Steelhead
 
Up-4-Air's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Vancouver, Wa
Posts: 264
Default Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

Obviously salmon and steelhead eat eggs. In fact they eat each others eggs. They're a favored bait for drifting, plunking, and bobber fishing. We all know they work, but why do they work? :whazzup: From the time a fish hatches from it's own egg, goes down either a long or short river to the sea, spends a number of years feeding and growing in the ocean, and finally coming back to it's home river, it has never seen a cluster of eggs. It sure hasn't ever tasted a gob of eggs and certainly not ones cured in sulfites and colored with chemical dyes. Aren't they supposed to be super sensative to various chemicals? Yet they gobble them up, why? I have heard theoris that they are trying to destroy eggs that aren't in a nest but why would they do that? Sounds like a lame explaination to me. It's just not consistent with catching fish in deep or fast water. It's also not consistent with how springers swallow gobs of eggs long before they start building nests. Come to think of it, smolt eat eggs like they were the last bite of food on earth. Am I the only one who doesn't get it? [img]graemlins/dork.gif[/img]

What do you think?

__________________
~db~
US Submarine Service
Up-4-Air is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-20-2003, 07:03 PM   #2
crabbait
King Salmon
 
crabbait's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Posts: 30,861
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

Uh.....I think they like them. [img]graemlins/dork.gif[/img]
__________________
Goin' where the sun keeps shinin' through the pouring rain
Goin' where the weather suits my clothes...
Pura Vida
crabbait is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2003, 10:53 PM   #3
nbx03xlt
Fry
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: astoria
Posts: 5
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

I've heard that it's a natural instinct for them to pick them up in there mouths and carry them upstream with them to deposit them somwhere suitable. I don't know if theres any truth to it or not.
nbx03xlt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 02:04 AM   #4
David Johnson
 
David Johnson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Oregon Coast
Posts: 7,824
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

In a natural river environment (like you still find in Alaska) eggs are a natural and essential building block in the food chain, the whole system revolves around the life of the salmon.

A young fish is programed to feed on eggs, probably the richest source of protein in the river. Just like humans have a taste for sugar fish are wired to like eggs. In fact all fish eggs are sought after by other fish-bass have to protect their nest and eggs from other fish that pray on bass eggs.

The chemicals help to disperse the scent (protein and fat) into the water and the dye is there for added vis.

As for trying to destroy other fish's eggs or putting them back in the nest....don't give these dumb animals more credit than they deserve. Their brains aren't big enough to grasp doing that stuff.....
__________________
NOW BOOKING SUMMER AND FALL SALMON TRIPS!

One of the original "ifish" guides.

"Like" my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/David...5297?ref=br_rs

www.davidjohnsonsguideservice.com

fishermand@aol.com

503-201-4292

Guiding in the NW for 20 years
David Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 05:04 AM   #5
Norski
Sturgeon
 
Norski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Bend Oregon
Posts: 3,987
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

:shocked:

They are hungry, you swim from the coast to your home river you well br hungry too.
__________________
Your never lost, if you don't care where you are.
Norski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 06:06 AM   #6
TAILOUT
Chromer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: gresham
Posts: 815
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

I took an ichthiology class in college and was told by my professer when I asked the same question that it was a natural instinct for them ,nothing to do with knowledge, to eat eggs to destroy other fishes eggs ie natural selection. If other fishes eggs are destroyed then the fish that is destroying eggs has a better chance that its eggs are going to survive. This happens in all species thus the phrase Only The Strong Survive. Every animal has the instinct to want its genes to be passed on to the next generation we cant help it it is a way of life.
__________________
Fish on!!!
TAILOUT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 06:31 AM   #7
TAILOUT
Chromer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: gresham
Posts: 815
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

I wanted to reply to my post, saying that even though I was told this It isnt the only reason I think they bite eggs just part of it. Chemicals play a huge role in fish biting thus the reason people cure eggs with chemicals, they may crave salt or sugar or whatever.When curing eggs the eggs rejuice the chemicals added and then when fished slowly release these chemicals allowing the fish to smell these chems. which in turn intices the fish to bite the eggs. Eggs are very good product for this process but people use other methods such as yarn or rags but its the same idea. Another big factor is dyes in eggs they make a big difference too, alot of times if you have a dye that is a bit different from everybody else it can make a big difference too. Hope this helps and its just my take on the subject.
__________________
Fish on!!!
TAILOUT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 10:13 AM   #8
BrionLutz
Ifish Nate
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,425
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

David,

It's an interesting questions since most critters are hardwired not to eat their own species including the eggs.

I wonder if the biologists have ever done a study on the young salmon eating salmon eggs.

That would be the only time salmon have seen salmon eggs.

Brion
BrionLutz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 12:11 PM   #9
Fisherfield
Chromer
 
Fisherfield's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Vancouver, WA.
Posts: 869
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

My 2 cents~ I talked with Gramps last year when I picked up the bug to fish for the big fish...he said that they are grabbing them...not to eat them but to replant them in the nest. I know we all think they don't have that thought pattern in that tiny little melon of theirs...but that's what the old timer...Grandpa says.....a natural instinct to do this. He told me to catch one and check out his stomach..you'll see that there isn't a bunch of eggs in there...so they aren't feeding on the eggs...just replanting them.....
__________________
Any day fishin' is better than pretty much anything else!

Team Game Misconduct
Fisherfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 03:30 PM   #10
Up-4-Air
Steelhead
 
Up-4-Air's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Vancouver, Wa
Posts: 264
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

Interesting discussion. Considering the size of a fish's brain, it's clearly some kind of instint. Survival of the fittest type stuff. "Only my eggs are safe from me".

Even Okies and Corkies with no scent and a wide variety of colors are eaten presumabaly because they represent egg clusters. If it wasn't for us offering them clusters the only eggs an adult would ever see would be individual eggs not landing in the nest from another spawning pair. By that time they are all so intent on spawning they wouldn't eat anything anyway.

I suppose the next logical question would be this. If you bobber fish is fairly quiet water, would they take chunks of the milk sack taken from the males. Clearly toughness would be issue but if you took the milk sack from fish not ready to spawn or from jacks it might work. Has anyone tried it? Is there a way to toughen up the membrane? :whazzup:
__________________
~db~
US Submarine Service
Up-4-Air is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 04:20 PM   #11
Salmonator
Sturgeon
 
Salmonator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 4,286
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

Fisherfield, we got one yesterday that "accidentally" swallowed not only my eggs but a 4/0 owner hook! If she was only trying to move my eggs she really goofed :smile:
__________________
Team cheesy cartopper

If I knock my own salmon off with the net in the middle of the ocean and nobody saw it, did it actually happen?
Salmonator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 04:49 PM   #12
David Johnson
 
David Johnson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Oregon Coast
Posts: 7,824
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

I'd like to ask any one who says they are just protecting the eggs to look at 90% of the salmon we catch with the hook, line and eggs down the throught and tell me they don't eat eggs

I still think they are just big, dumb trout and their brain isn't big enough to think about other fish, survival of the fittest etc. Besides, there are no nests or eggs around in the Willamette and they goble up egg clusters out there. And if they are just picking up the eggs to put them back into the nest or whatever why do they like to protect some guys cure over another?

Hatchery fish will never see eggs when they are big or small but they still like them, kind of like if an Eskimo was given a peice of pineapple, they may have never had it before but I'm sure they would like it....

I was pulled over on the bank today cleaning off and tossing the used eggs on my hooks into the water and watching the smolt attack them like they were parina, so when I cleaned our fish I tried this experiment and riped up some skeins of springer eggs from the fish we were cleaning and tossed them to the smolts, they were only about 1/3 interested with the fresh eggs as they were with the cured ones. Also, they hardly touch the sand shrimp.....

[ 05-21-2003, 06:07 PM: Message edited by: David Johnson ]
__________________
NOW BOOKING SUMMER AND FALL SALMON TRIPS!

One of the original "ifish" guides.

"Like" my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/David...5297?ref=br_rs

www.davidjohnsonsguideservice.com

fishermand@aol.com

503-201-4292

Guiding in the NW for 20 years
David Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 05:10 PM   #13
Firedog
Ifish Nate
 
Firedog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Posts: 2,615
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

I agree with DJ on this one. They eat out of instinct/survival. I have been bobber fishing a lot in the last week and had the same results Dave did, smolts will clean you out of Eggs and barely touch the Sand shrimp. Also had a good time watching them pick the last few eggs out of and old skien eveytime we changed bait. I have caught fish that have had eggs in their guts, usually a fished we missed earlier in the day. But still had bait in its stomoach. Caught Steelhead with all kinds of stuff in them. Salmon and Steelhead are not activly looking for food but will feed if it is presented to them. My .02
__________________
FOCUS
Don't argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
Firedog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 05:55 PM   #14
Up-4-Air
Steelhead
 
Up-4-Air's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Vancouver, Wa
Posts: 264
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

DJ, I had to laugh at your question .."why do they like to protect one guy's cure over another"? It makes the point that they eat what tastes good, and some guy's know the secret. Also your observation that smolt are more interested in cured eggs rather than in fresh ones is worth some thought. I guess it goes right back to what tastes good. Sulfites, sugar, brown sugar, salt, borax, etc. With the exception of borax, what tastes good to a salmon tastes good to me too. Wish I could figure out a way to make chocolate ice cream clusters.
__________________
~db~
US Submarine Service
Up-4-Air is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 06:46 PM   #15
TAILOUT
Chromer
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: gresham
Posts: 815
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

My whole point on this subject is spawning fish will eat eggs to ensure the survival of their genes when the salmon are spawning and it is usually single eggs, try going up to marmot in july or august and drift a single corkie through any water and I know you will bang salmon. My other point was chems and dyes and in my opinion fresh salmon bite baits out of chemical wants, insinctual bites or reaction bites and this time of year on any tributary that holds a good run of salmon backbouncing eggs with killer scent and a sand shrimp is an awsome bet!!
__________________
Fish on!!!
TAILOUT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 09:07 PM   #16
Mad Mikey
Sturgeon
 
Mad Mikey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Gods Country
Posts: 4,646
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

>>>Their brains aren't big enough to grasp doing that stuff.....<<<

Good thoughts from a great fisherman, DJ you are soooo right.
From my experiences in the NW AND AK all fish are programmed to eat eggs. They are so inclined to do so that they will readily hit anything that is ROUND, i.e. corkies, FF'ed glo bugs and even pick up split shot attatched to leaders on tippets whilst ignoring the pretty fly attatched below.
For example, I have stood on the bank above spawning chums on the Miami and watched early Winter fish grouped behind them chowing eggs.
I also have to wonder the real reason we get a short/quick shot of early Summer fish on many streams that are on the tail-end of the wild Winter run. I've caught many a Summer fish in April that was stuffed with single eggs.
Fun topic no doubt. Just goes to show we don't always have these critters totally figured out.
Mad Mikey is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 09:44 PM   #17
brushpuppy
Tuna!
 
brushpuppy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: PDX
Posts: 1,541
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

It's simple- Eggs are protien and most of the animal life on this planet is keyed into this. Worms/grubs and insects come in a close 2nd, albeit bugs are one of the building blocks of the lower end of the food chain due to their abundance, but eggs are just so luxurious (caviar anyone?) that they can't be resisted. I've even witnessed jack salmon in the fall, ramming ripe adult hens in the side then dropping back to snatch the eggs that got knocked loose. Just Ma Nature doing her thing.
__________________
Team Lawn Chair.
brushpuppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 11:05 PM   #18
Beer Waggin
Tuna!
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Hillsboro
Posts: 1,848
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

I'd always heard that they eat the eggs because they were protecting their offspring, ie; the salmon doesn't want any other species feeding on eggs and knowing how good they taste, but I'll take the good guides advice and run with that.
__________________
they're all dead sir, they're all dead
Beer Waggin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2003, 05:06 AM   #19
PittsburghD
Chromer
 
PittsburghD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lake O
Posts: 685
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

BrionLutz, don't get any cooky ideas like that. Next thing you know the Oregon Legislature will be telling the ODFW to look for a state biologist who could answer this very tough question regarding eggs with a two year, 10 million dollar budget.

Perhaps during that two years he could learn Klingon and transfer to Multnomah County.


---D [img]graemlins/idea.gif[/img]
__________________
"The hook is sharper than the sword."

--Captain Kangaroo
PittsburghD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2003, 06:05 AM   #20
BrionLutz
Ifish Nate
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,425
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

PittsburghD:

Quote:
..don't get any cooky ideas like that.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Did you mean "corkie ideas" &lt;grin&gt;.

It is a fascinating question. Salmon are such a bizarre species.

Here they are, dying to get up river to spawn, eating their own eggs (a bit counterproductive), when they aren't eating for food.

Mature salmon eggs are not something salmon would see in nature. Do the fry start eating the other salmon eggs the moment they hatch? Do the smolts eat the eggs of the new generation salmon eggs?

Maybe salmon are more cannibalistic than we know.

Be fun to know.

Brion
BrionLutz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2003, 10:20 AM   #21
David Johnson
 
David Johnson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Oregon Coast
Posts: 7,824
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

I think they are very cannibalistic and the fry/smolts are right there eating the eggs of the next generation as they are being layed.

Two springs ago we caught a spring chinook jack on the NF Lewis and it was full of three inch long salmon fry.

I've also caught silvers in saltwater in Alaska that were full of smolts.

Also, a budy of mine was doing a ********* study on the Columbia for the government and they were using a set line to catch *********. They were using dead smolts from the hatchery for bait and they caught a few summer steelhead.

MadMike mentioned how the are keyed into eating things that are round, this morning there was a red corkie floating by the boat and the smolts were taking wacks at it like it was a fly.

[ 05-22-2003, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: David Johnson ]
__________________
NOW BOOKING SUMMER AND FALL SALMON TRIPS!

One of the original "ifish" guides.

"Like" my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/David...5297?ref=br_rs

www.davidjohnsonsguideservice.com

fishermand@aol.com

503-201-4292

Guiding in the NW for 20 years
David Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2003, 06:37 PM   #22
Premo
Tuna!
 
Premo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Gresham,Astoria,Lincoln City,Tillamook
Posts: 1,099
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

Another reason besides they taste good is competition to their off spring. Bouncing or drifting eggs or anything for that matter, into a bunch of fish with a good cure will usually find the eager biters.
__________________
------- Ian Premo------
Premo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2003, 11:38 PM   #23
Chris Nordling
 
Chris Nordling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Jennings Lodge
Posts: 3,000
Default Re: Why Do Salmon Eat Salmon Eggs?

If you were hiding out in a nice safe dark spot, and suddenly a big fat juicy cheeseburger showed up in front of your nose , you'd probably nibble on it a bit too. :grin:

Fresh eggs may not be as completely effective as cured eggs, but I have limited the boat with "raw" eggs when in a pinch before.

Chris
__________________
Now Booking---

Astoria Fishing/Crabbing combo trips
Fall Chinook Columbia River & Coastal
Winter Steelhead

(503) 866-0971
http://www.CatchSomeFish.Net

Fisherman's Marine&Outdoor Prostaff

Twitter: @
CNordlingfishin
http://tinyurl.com/CNguidefanpage


Chris Nordling is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Cast to



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:58 PM.

Terms of Service
Page generated in 0.38772 seconds with 44 queries